My mom and I attended a symposium where we listened to the testimonies of men who were wrongfully convicted of murder. Frankie Carillo, who at my same age was sentenced to life, amazed me with his inner peace after 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He inspired us to volunteer. My mom neglected to tell me we would be phone banking. Calling strangers. It was terrifying. Calling on Sunday evenings, people hung up, swore, or didn’t have the time. And then someone would want to hear more. People would even say “thank you.” The feeling that I helped influence just one vote that could potentially save a life was unmatchable.
Even though it lost by 6%, Proposition 34 raised awareness about the human and financial costs of our current system. I have faith that California will join the 17 other states in America and eliminate the death penalty in our near future.